Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, people were primarily focused on aiding the sick and saving lives. However, as of 2023, the spotlight has shifted back to nature, with forests and dogs taking the main stage. Notably, dogs have gained more popularity than projects centered around reforestation and forest rehabilitation.
A recent study conducted by the Garnet Consulting Group, in collaboration with the Nullker platform, sheds light on compelling global donor trends in 2023. The research was conducted in several stages: analysis of search queries, content across social media platforms, and global media outlets for the past 5 years. Finally, data from the Nullker platform for the current year was collected, along with expert surveys.
In the past three years, the volume of publications in both traditional media and social networks regarding animal protection and animal shelters has been steadily increasing, averaging a 30% growth.
Specifically, the coverage related to adopting and assisting dogs surged an additional 15% in November 2023 – which is heartwarming considering reports of pets being adopted during the lockdowns of the pandemic being abandoned in higher numbers once the lockdowns were over.
Of note were publications supporting dogs receiving significantly higher positive reactions on social media, exceeding 85%. Meanwhile, topics concerning forest restoration garnered responses of not more than 65%. Experts in environmental initiatives believe this trend is rooted in the traditional favoritism towards dogs in donation campaigns. According to Google Trends data, searches related to dog assistance averaged a popularity score of 60, while those for forest support were at 25. Support for human causes stood at 50. In comparison, cats rank slightly lower in popularity than dogs, with a score of 45.
Nullker’s data echoes the growing emphasis on supporting dogs and environmental initiatives. These projects received the highest volume of contributions in 2023. More than half of all donations (54%) made through the platform in 2023 were in support of funds dedicated to aiding dogs, followed closely by tree planting initiatives in second place (16%). Restoring ecosystems was at 11%, protecting species (different projects) – 10%, recycling – 6% and coral reef restoration – 2%.
“Currently, through the Nullker platform, it is possible to donate to 23 different funds, comprising 6 reforestation initiatives, 5 dedicated to ecosystems, 4 waste management projects, 3 projects helping homeless animals, 2 protecting specific species (such as rhinos and bees), 2 projects are aimed at supporting local communities, and 1 project is dedicated to reef conservation. This year has been an eye-opener for us – we didn’t expect such a tremendous level of support for dogs. However, we strongly believe that there are numerous other projects and issues that are equally important and deserving of attention. In the coming year, we intend to shed more light on these matters,” commented Viktor Khodanov, Founder and CEO of Nullker.
The profound support for dogs and forest rehabilitation stems from a range of reasons, with society striving to address these issues without resorting to the killing of stray or abandoned dogs. An exemplary demonstration of societal support for dogs can be seen, for example, in the country of Georgia, where dogs are considered nearly full-fledged residents. Recently, the Georgian government implemented a program to install additional kennels for homeless dogs. Their plight has stirred significant resonance, drawing attention and fostering a sense of empathy, considering the fact that humanity itself created the problem of homeless dogs through irresponsible behavior and a lack of control over dog owners. Not only are government policies and charity a huge game changer, but so too are the actions of individual activists like David Sadaterashvili, a trainer veterinarian who has devoted his entire life to solving the homeless dog problems in Georgia. Incredible stories of volunteers who changed the rules in their local communities have inspired others while driving major progress.
The need to support animal shelters doesn’t come out of nowhere; there’s an often unspoken issue: many shelters face funding shortages, leaving leaders with financial uncertainty. In the U.S., over 89 million dogs and nearly 94 million cats are in homes, but sadly, many end up abandoned or in shelters, leading to overpopulation. Annually, 18 million cats and dogs are euthanized in the U.S. due to inadequate funding in shelters for proper care and housing, even for healthy animals.
Referencing global statistics, only 7% of total donations are allocated to animal charities, which is significantly less than contributions to human-focused causes. Medical, children’s charities, hospitals, overseas aid, and religious groups collectively receive 62% of all donations, with each individually surpassing animal charity donations.
The data further reveals that 31% of donors worldwide contribute to NGOs, NPOs, and charities situated outside their country of residence. Additionally, 41% of contributions are in response to natural disasters, reflecting a widespread concern for humanitarian aid during crises. Overall, more than half (53%) of donors include donations in their budget, and 39% made sacrifices in their discretionary spending in order to have funds to give. Sixty percent of donors give to new causes when they see a pressing need in the news or in response to a timely appeal from an organization, cause, or individual.
Millennial Donors and Recurring Contributions
The study underscores Millennial engagement, indicating that 40% of Millennial donors are actively enrolled in monthly giving programs, showing a commitment to sustained charitable support. Moreover, 26% have opted for tribute gifts to commemorate special occasions.
Crowdfunding and High Net Worth Donors
An impressive 46% of donors have contributed to crowdfunding campaigns, signifying a growing trend in collective fundraising efforts. Astonishingly, approximately 91% of high net worth households globally engage in charitable giving, highlighting a broad-based support for philanthropy across wealth demographics.
Boomers’ Adoption of Technology and Recurring Donations
Boomers, initially hesitant to adopt new technology, have shown a rapid acceptance once familiarized. They actively engage in voice calls, regular email checks, text messaging, and social media usage. Notably, Boomers are more inclined towards recurring donations, often opting for monthly, quarterly, or yearly contributions.
In conclusion, the human desire to help others in need – be they animals, Mother Nature, or other people – is stronger than ever, even though the world is facing the uncertain times of economic disparity and inflation, conflict, natural disasters and other issues.
“The shift towards a more natural state of being is reflected in the research, and is more potent due to the constraints the pandemic placed upon us. So many more began to enjoy the chance and ability to spend more time in nature, helping the environment in simple and affordable ways: picking up trash on the beach or in the nearest forest while walking or feeding stray animals. Any action, even a small one, to improve the world around us matters – we believe in the fundamental importance of these actions for shaping our future. Our aim remains to contribute to a world that is more compassionate and enriched. Nullker has now evolved into a platform that unites many, fostering aspirations for a more equitable world. Leveraging technology allows us to offer assistance swiftly, liberally, and perceive the tangible impact we are affecting.
“We eagerly look forward to supporting diverse initiatives, sharing our insights, and leveraging our capabilities to address a variety of diverse challenges,” concludes Viktor Khodanov.